A 22-year-old woman kidnapped along a Philadelphia street and held hostage for three days is recovering in private one day after an emotional reunion with her family.
Nursing aide Carlesha Freeland-Gaither returned to Philadelphia early Thursday morning, her family and police in tow, after being rescued from the grips of her accused captor, Delvin Barnes, in Maryland. A criminal complaint detailing federal charges against Barnes, a man authorities described as a “vicious predator,” says he has confessed to the crimes.
Thursday marked Freeland-Gaither's first return to the city after she was abducted in Germantown Sunday night. The entire violent encounter was caught on surveillance video.
She has since been moved to an undisclosed location where she will be able to begin to process the violent experience and heal, Philadelphia police said.
Detective Jim Sloan, the lead local investigator on the case, recounted meeting Freeland-Gaither at a Maryland hospital Wednesday night.
“I entered the room. She was upset. I just told her ‘I’ve been looking for you.’ She started to cry and hugged her mother,” he said, describing the moment as “touching.”
The police department is providing the Freeland-Gaither and her family with counseling and other victim assistance resources, according to officials.
Sloan praised the efforts of witness Dwayne Fletcher, who the detective said helped investigators get a jump start on the abduction case.
“He witnessed it. He watched. He called the police twice. He waited for me. This man is a hero,” Sloan said. He added that Fletcher should be given the $47,000 reward that was being offered in the case.
As Freeland-Gaither rested, her alleged abductor was in a Maryland courtroom for an extradition hearing. The judge presiding over the hearing approved Barnes’ extradition to Virginia, where he is wanted on attempted capital murder and rape charges.
Barnes donned an orange jumpsuit and appeared in court through closed circuit television. He only gave "yes" and "no" answers to the judge.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed federal kidnapping charges against Barnes Thursday evening.
Barnes admitted he abducted Freeland-Gaither and that he chose her at random, according to the federal criminal complaint.
He was extradited to Virginia late Thursday so that prosecutors there can move forward with their attempted murder case. Federal officials are expected to proceed later.